At Universal Studios in Orlando Halloween Horror Nights recently began its 24th season of scaring the pants off of visitors. I had the opportunity to check out opening night, and it did not disappoint. With eight haunted houses, four scare zones, and two live shows, HHN offers a myriad of opportunities to be terrified.
The scare zones essentially ensure that visitors remain amped and on guard while traveling between the individual haunted houses. While it’s possible to avoid the zones by walking along either side, it’s much more fun to be in the midst of the action. The themes of the four zones are The Purge: Anarchy, Face Off – In the Flesh, Bayou of Blood, and MASKerade: Unstitched. While all four were creepy, MASKerade: Unstitched got under my skin the most. It felt like the scare-actors (Universal’s term for the scary characters) were floating around us in the eerie fog.
The two live shows are not meant to be scary but rather serve as a welcome break in the ensuing terror. Both Rocky Horror Picture Show and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure are campy, audience participation-driven productions where laughter and relaxation are encouraged.
If you want to be able to make it to all eight haunted houses, definitely buy an express pass as the lines to get in snake down the block in most places. Of the eight houses (Halloween, The Walking Dead: End of the Line, AVP: Alien Vs. Predator, From Dusk Till Dawn, Dracula Untold – Reign of Blood, Dollhouse of the Damned, Giggles and Gore, Inc., and Roanoke – Cannibal Colony) Halloween is definitely my favorite. The creative team at Universal recreated the front ofMichael Myers childhood home, and that is the backdrop while waiting in line. Once inside the house, there are dozens of Michael Myers hiding around corners and behind curtains. It’s absolutely terrifying. I somehow managed not to wet my pants or punch a scare-actor, and I only hid behind my wife twice. I’ll take that as a win.
Whether you’ve never been to HHN or are a diehard fanatic, don’t miss it this year. It runs through Halloween (except Monday and Tuesday nights), so there are plenty of opportunities to be scared out of your skin. Make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time as it sometimes sells out, and check out Universal’s resorts to make your stay complete. If you capture great pictures of freaked out friends, be sure to tag us @eujacksonville!